I’M writing to encourage your readers to join the thousands of people across Scotland and millions across the world taking part in the biggest event to protect the planet, WWF’s Earth Hour, taking place at 8:30pm on Saturday March 24.

This year, make a #PromiseForThePlanet and change an aspect of your life to live more sustainably. This could be switching to a green energy provider, refusing plastic cutlery with take-away food or buying a re-usable coffee cup. Whilst individually these changes may seem small, together they will have a huge impact and will help to reduce our environmental footprint.

With almost 50 per cent of species at risk of local extinction if global temperatures continue to rise at the current rate, this year’s Earth Hour is focussing on the need for us all to play a part in protecting our planet – for people and nature. By working together, we can show we care and are willing to take action to ensure –that species such as polar bears, elephants, tigers and marine turtles, to name but a few – will still be around for our children and grandchildren.

Make sure you take part and make a promise to protect our wonderful planet at wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour.
Andy Murray
WWF ambassador

THE present controversy about whether it is appropriate for Mark McDonald to stay as an MSP introduces us to another anomaly (McDonald will keep his £62k job as he has been ‘rehabilitated’, The National, March 11). In the last parliamentary session three MSP elected through the list system to represent the SNP left the party but remained in place as MSPs. This is significantly different from the McDonald case. The three list MSPs were elected not on a personal basis but to represent the SNP. They should have automatically vacated their posts as they were no longer representing the reason for their election.

Actually I believe the present list system, despite its admirable intentions, to be seriously flawed. Because of it we have in our Parliament elected representatives who have been furiously rejected by the electorate in their own areas picking up a derisory share of the vote in first past the post (FPTP) contests, and we have others basically anonymously elected who have not faced the electorate.

I believe all list candidates should contest FPTP and in fact I see no compelling reason for the lists at all. The same degree of proportionality would be achieved by totalling up the FPTP votes in the areas we presently have designated for the lists. The electorate would only have to vote once, thus removing a confusion of them thinking the list is for them to vote for another party other than their first choice.

And while we are at it if we want a gender-balanced Parliament it’s very easy. Our ballot papers have a list of men candidates at one side and a list of women candidates at the other and we elect one from each column.
David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

HENRY McLeish is a decent man, but as an observer of the British political landscape I feel that he is being somewhat naïve in suggesting a federal solution for Scotland (The big four objectives that shape our future, The National, March 9).

Thatcher changed the culture in Britain when selfishness, callousness and “greed is good” became acceptable, especially in the south. Realising this, Blair pitched the Labour manifesto in 1997 towards this demographic. Instead of using his landslide to return Britain to a more egalitarian society, he continued the neo-con agenda and working people have had no representation in Westminster since.

As Henry admits, Labour and the Tories are virtually neck and neck in the polls, when Labour should be streaks ahead. As the culture of greed is now embedded and reinforced daily by the media, the only way Corbyn can be sure of winning is to abandon his principles and appeal to the right again.

I do not believe a Labour government would even consider federalism, but if they did it would be as wishy-washy as the Smith Commission and leave Scottish people just as dissatisfied. The reason is simple, Westminster needs Scotland’s wealth. So I hope Henry will stop seeking impractical solutions to the democratic deficit when the only one is independence.
Richard Walthew